Imagine you’re wandering the floor of a tradeshow. It’s hot and crowded. Not much oxygen, way too much noise and body odour. Your eyes dart left and right, alighting on a flashing billboard here, a lurid banner there. Sales staff call out from booths as you pass.
The deeper you get into the event hall, the more everything becomes a blur. Soon you’re in zombie mode, grabbing brochures on autopilot, snagging a free pen or two. By the end of a couple of hours, you’re left with a splitting headache and a sagging bag of paper just begging to be recycled.
You make your way to the exit, drawn to the bright sunlight like a moth to a flame. Having made your escape, you pause on the pavement outside to savour deep lungfuls of air that tastes like you’re at the top of a mountain rather than in the middle of a big city. An urgent need for caffeine quickens your step towards the nearest cafe with a decent wifi signal.
Picture yourself with your hand on the door of the coffee shop, your mind already filled with permutations of sizes, flavours and toppings. Can you smell that caramel mocha latte?
Now how much do you remember of the companies you saw in that sweaty, airless exhibition space?
Unless you were already familiar with some of the exhibitors before the show, it’s you’re unlikely to recall any particular company.
Their names are no help: jumbles of glued-together words or made up expressions which don’t give any sort of clue as to what they actually do. And there were dozens of similar-looking companies packed tightly together in zones across the exhibition floor.
But there is one thing you do remember: the kind of product or service that interested you.
That could be web hosting, accounting software, craft kits, website localisation, chocolate fountains, onion chutney.
You’ve got a very clear mental image of that particular thing.
Why? Because it’s something you’re already familiar with. There’s no need to make any kind of “association”.
A typical brand dialogue will go something along the lines of:
“We’re Blahblahblah Ltd. We specialise in website localisation. Use us because we’re the best.”
How much of Blahblahblah Ltd’s marketing budget is wasted, dribbled away, burnt up in their attempt to create and reinforce the association “Blahblahblah Ltd = website localisation”?
And how much are their competitors in surrounding booths spending on trying to create the same association with their own “meaningless” brands?
Now imagine that Blahblahblah Ltd owned the domain name “websitelocalisation.co.uk”.
Suddenly, all they have to do is catch your eye with their marketing collateral at any point during the tradeshow, or when you’re flicking through your heap of brochures. Bingo, you instantly know what they offer.
You’ll be able to find that company again later, when you’ve finished your coffee, got back to the office, and sent that bulging bag of randomly foraged paper off to be pulped. Or six months down the road, when you actually want website localisation services.
Why? Because there’s zero friction to the process. You think of something you want, and that something IS the web address of the relevant company. No need for explanation. No need for some artificial association drummed in through tedious, expensive repetition. What you see is what you get.
(That’s not to say that Blahblahblah Ltd can’t/shouldn’t also own a branded web address – of course they can – but the amount of money, time and effort they could save by using something simple, instantly familiar, instantly memorable in their marketing is considerable)
What does your web address say about your business?